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Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen is a Vietnamese-Australian writer and critic based in Melbourne. Her work has appeared in Meanjin, The Saturday Paper, Kill Your Darlings, SBS, and Good Weekend, among others. She was an inaugural recipient of The Wheeler Centre’s Next Chapter fellowship in 2018 and a fiction judge for the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen reviews ‘Ghost Cities’ by Siang Lu

May 2024, no. 464 22 April 2024
Siang Lu’s polyphonic début novel, The Whitewash (2022), occupied a unique place in Australian fiction. It was written as an oral history, with a cast of voices, sometimes in conflict with one another, coalescing to tell the story of the rise and fall of a Hollywood spy blockbuster. The film was supposed to star the first-ever Asian male lead in such a role, but he was replaced by a white actor ... (read more)

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen reviews ‘Politica’ by Yumna Kassab

March 2024, no. 462 22 February 2024
‘The personal is political’ is an axiom that has become ubiquitous. Normally used within the context of feminist activism, in Yumna Kassab’s latest novel – for which it serves as the epigraph – it is a reminder of the human sacrifice of war and how every part of a civilian’s life reflects its surroundings. Politica manages to be at once specific and incredibly vague. It concerns itsel ... (read more)

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen reviews 'But the Girl' by Jessica Zhan Mei Yu

October 2023, no. 458 24 September 2023
In the modern literary landscape, the novel about a novelist writing a novel has become de rigueur. It can provide an ideal setting for a meditation on the complexities of living a creative life. Jessica Zhan Mei Yu’s début novel, But the Girl, follows in this contemporary tradition, but offers something more compelling than navel-gazing: a critique of classical literature, specifically the wor ... (read more)

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen reviews 'After the Rain' by Aisling Smith

July 2023, no. 455 27 June 2023
Melbourne author Aisling Smith’s début begins with a question that snakes the whole way through her novel: ‘What has happened to Benjamin?’ The asker, at first, is his wife, Malti Fortune. It is 1987 and her husband, once doting and attentive, is now distant. Gone are their dreamy days bonding over their love of words (she’s a lawyer, he’s a linguist). Benjamin now frequently works lat ... (read more)

'New Gold Mountain': A vivid, much-needed perspective on Australia’s gold rush era

ABR Arts 09 November 2021
Prior to watching New Gold Mountain, the only account I had come across of the gold rush of the 1850s from a non-white perspective was in Monica Tan’s memoir, Stranger Country (2019). On a six-month road trip around Australia, Tan met Eddie Ah Toy, an elderly, fifth-generation Chinese-Australian man whose ancestors came to Australia to work on the goldfields. Recently for SBS, Tan wrote, ‘I be ... (read more)

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen reviews 'My Body Keeps Your Secrets' by Lucia Osborne-Crowley

October 2021, no. 436 23 September 2021
The proliferation of trauma writing in the past few years is a double-edged sword. While giving public voice to subjects once relegated to the dark lessens stigma and creates agency, there is almost an expectation for women writers to reveal or perform their trauma, as well as a risk of exploitation and retraumatisation. In 2018, Australian-born, London-based journalist and writer Lucia Osborne-C ... (read more)

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen reviews 'Gunk Baby' by Jamie Marina Lau

May 2021, no. 431 26 April 2021
Go to any suburban shopping centre and you will find a metropolis of consumption. ‘Buy, buy, buy’, it screeches, whether you are contemplating fast-fashion T-shirts, new-age solutions to age-old problems, or services and pampering you don’t really need, all in the harsh glare of white lights and a controlled climate, temperature just right. The shopping centre, uniform and tidy, is where you ... (read more)